During the 1975-1976 respiratory disease season, influenza A/Victoria virus exceeded respiratory syncytial (RS) virus as a cause of lower respiratory tract disease (LRD) in children admitted to the hospital. This was a reversal of their usual roles in the etiology of LRD; however, the importance of influenza viruses in causing serious disease in children has been underestimated because of failure to appreciate the full spectrum of disease associated with influenza virus infections. In addition to those with LRD, several children were hospitalized with nonspecific febrile illnesses or CNS involvement. Furthermore, in the ambulatory care setting, influenza viruses were the most important cause of illness that necessitated children's being brought for medical care during a three-year period. During the peak of epidemics, influenza viruses appeared to interfere with the spread of other major respiratory viruses—particularly RS virus.
(JAMA 243:1345-1349, 1980)